Here Are 5 Savvy Artists Instagram Users Can Learn From

Inspiration for your feed.

Nan Goldin French Chris at the Drive-In, NJ (1979) Photo:
Early proponent of the selfie: Andy Warhol. Photo: Oliviero Toscani via

Early proponent of the selfie: Andy Warhol.
Photo: Oliviero Toscani via

Instagram’s success is based primarily on the concept of FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. With a few swipes, users can live vicariously through each other’s pictures.

The artists below could have been social media royalty if Instagram was available a few decades earlier. Whether it’s Andy Warhol documenting New York’s hedonistic downtown art scene in the 1970s and ’80s or Dennis Hopper snapping his artist and movie star pals in Los Angeles, let the following photographers inspire you to share better images with your friends and followers.

Nan Goldin French Chris at the Drive-In, NJ (1979) Photo:

Nan Goldin, French Chris at the Drive-In, NJ (1979)

Nan Goldin
The American photographer has come a long way since she first exhibited her intimate and spontaneous photographs of family, friends and lovers in 1979. During her storied career, she has won numerous accolades including admission to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007. In an interview with the Observer last year, Goldin said about the heady days of her youth: “I honestly didn’t know about natural light then and how it affected the colour of the skin because I never went out in daylight.”

William Eggleston Untitled (1980) Photo:

William Eggleston Untitled (1980).

William Eggleston
Credited with promoting color photography as a legitimate artistic medium, Eggleston’s ability to reveal the beauty behind the mundane is evident throughout his work. His depiction of all-American subject matter such as motel rooms and storefronts catapulted him to fame in the ’70s. The photographer’s 1976 Color Photographs exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York revolutionized art photography.

Peter Hujar Orgasmic Man I, II & III (1969)

Peter Hujar, Orgasmic Man I, II & III (1969).

Peter Hujar
The American photographer was known for his striking black and white portraits of famous personalities, animals and wrecked cars. His minimalist approach to photography and queer gaze greatly influenced future generations of budding photographers. Hujar was also an integral member of New York’s legendary downtown art scene in the ’70s and early ’80s. He was the friend, lover, and mentor of David Wojnarowicz, who famously photographed Hujar in 1987, as he died of an AIDS-related illness.

If he were alive today, Hujar would have likely enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity of social media.

Warhol's polaroids included pop icons like Debby Harry, Mick Jagger, Mohammad Ali, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Photo:

Warhol’s polaroids included pop icons like Debby Harry, Mick Jagger, Mohammad Ali, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Andy Warhol
According to Hans Ulrich Obrist the pop art impresario would have loved Instagram. Indeed, Warhol’s sepia-tinted Polaroid photos look like they came straight off an Instagram feed. The images depict a who’s-who of New York’s downtown art scene, from dealers and artists to social gadflies.

Warhol was also an early proponent of the selfie, and extensively photographed himself around town.

Dennis Hopper
Hollywood actor, photographer and artist: In his heyday, Dennis Hopper had the career and life that would have made him an Instagram sensation. He not only photographed his friends and contemporaries, including Andy Warhol and David Hockney, he also documented the political and social upheaval of the ’60s with his photos of the civil rights movement and Californian biker gangs.

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